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One chicken started laying=rest dont sleep in coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MeggieB, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. MeggieB

    MeggieB Just Hatched

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    So, my five 6 month olds have put themselves to bed at dusk in their coop ever since they first were put outside. I just go out and lock the coop gate behind them. I finally got my first egg a week ago!!! I figured out it was one of the barred rocks and she has laid almost every day since. A weird thing has happened though. The chickens stopped going into their coop to sleep and have been roosting on a bar outside under a playset where they sometimes hang during the day. Its not protected at all from weather or predators so every evening i go out and have to carry them each in one by one into the coop! The past two nights, only the laying barred rock has put herself to bed in the coop and the others outside on that same bar. Ummmmmm. What is this about?? They dont want to sleep where she lays?? There are nesting boxes and I figured they would all follow suit! These are my first 5 chickens. Advice please. ( Now i will start a new thread on how to introduce my 4 month old salmon faverolles to these 5 hens, one of whichnis a severe crossbeak and cant defend herself.)
     
  2. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you have a roosting bar inside the coop?
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens change behavior for a reason. You need to figure out why yours are changing their roosting habits.

    Two reasons for chickens to abandon their coop are rodents and parasites. Mites hide in crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on their hosts. You can usually see them with a flash light as they congregate on the perches and crawl up the legs of your chickens.

    Rats like to enter coops after dark and feed on spilled feed and even on docile chickens. Silkies have been known to remain in place as rats feed on their extremities.

    A third reason for chickens to abandon a coop is when they experience a scare. A predator showing up in the coop and trying to attack can scare chickens so badly, they will not consider their coop a safe place to sleep.

    You need to investigate and figure out which reason is responsible and take measures to correct it. Then you will need to reintroduce you chickens to their coop, perhaps by cooping them up for several days until they learn it's safe again.
     
  4. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    Chickens don't/shouldnt sleep in nesting boxes, and they don't like to sleep on the floor. Make sure you have suitable pirches in the coop for them. A 2x4 turned on its side is what I use. It helps protect their feet during the cold months.
     
  5. MeggieB

    MeggieB Just Hatched

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    I have roosting bars in the coop and everything is rodent and predator proof!! I have never seen rats or predators.. and. there is no way they could enter coop. I clean it out very often. The only change is that one hen started laying!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  6. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    Try locking them inside for a few days. I've had hens roost outside in the rain for no reason, and ive had to go out and pick them up one by one and keep putting them in the coop. They stopped after awhile. Young chickens can be weird.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'm betting the new layers 'ego' has become inflated with her new status and she is keeping the others out of the coop.
    Onset of lay can change pecking orders.
    Try to observe their behaviors as they go to roost in the evening.

    Also, not sure if you've enlarged your coop since this posting this thread:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1123418/cleaning-my-coop-run
    But crowding could be an issue also, especially now that they are pretty much full grown.
     
  8. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    . Completely right, that coop size is way to small for 5 hens. Hens should have 2-4 square feet apiece, so 5 hens should at the very LEAST have 10 square feet, but even then it would still be tight.
     
  9. MeggieB

    MeggieB Just Hatched

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    Yes, aart, you have a great memory! I thought tonight, since they were all outside again, even the laying hen, that all of a sudden maybe they think its too crowded. Sigh... we ended up having to buy a cheap, piece of crap coop for the salmons since they wouldnt introduce well at all woth the main 5 ( who are two months older) and then one ended up gaving. Severe case of cross beak and wouldnt survive at all with them.). So, we have no budget to expand coop. We were considering enclosing the space inder the large playset where they are wanting to roost (we put a bar up during the summer for a place to go for shade etc) and perhaps we should do that. I might just remove the roosting bar for now until we can get that space enclosed. Ugghhh. When the others start laying will they be able to share three nesting boxes?
     
  10. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 nest boxes and a coop for 16. They all share them fine.
     

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